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K-State Today

May 4, 2016

From the provost's desk: K-State 2025: A 15-year vision

Submitted by April Mason

Dear Colleagues,

A typical spring semester at K-State is chock-full of inspirational events and exciting transitions — as we celebrate the graduation of a new class of K-Staters, the retirement of faculty and staff from across the university, and the recognition of outstanding work by our colleagues at this week's university awards ceremony. However, it's no secret that this has been anything but a typical semester for Kansas State University.

As we thank President Kirk Schulz for his outstanding leadership and welcome K-State alumnus, General Richard Myers, back to campus to serve as interim K-State president, a number of you have asked how this leadership change might affect our continuing progress toward the goals of K-State 2025.

A few weeks ago, President Schulz and I had the opportunity to share K-State 2025 updates with General Myers and two important groups: the Trustees of our K-State Foundation and the members of the Kansas Board of Regents. As you might imagine, each group approached the updates with interest — especially as it relates to the upcoming leadership transition at the university. In our meetings, we revisited where we have been on our journey to 2025 so far, shared some positive impacts across each of the seven theme areas, and discussed our continuing commitment and what's next for the 15-year vision. I want to share some of that discussion with you today as we look ahead to next year.

K-State 2025: A 15-year vision

K-State 2025 is more than the visionary university plan launched in the fall of 2011. From the beginning, K-State 2025 was envisioned as a platform for long-range strategic planning with faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni, donors, partners and other K-State friends working together to achieve shared goals as the university embraces its future and strives for excellence. While we've seen progress on our university vision and plan, much of K-State 2025's strength lies in the college/major unit and associated departmental plans for the year 2025. Each of these plans was built within the units themselves to reflect their 2025 aspirations aligned with the university vision and priorities. Another key K-State 2025 strength is its integration with our billion dollar Innovation and Inspiration Campaign and the philanthropic support of our donors.

Finally, the visionary plan itself was built in five year stages with short-term, intermediate term, and long-term goals and outcomes. This was intentional to allow us to maintain a long-range focus while assessing, adapting, and adjusting our plans periodically as we respond to new challenges and the ever-changing higher education environment. That changing environment now includes a new president arriving in 2017!

Positive impacts

The impacts of K-State 2025 can be felt throughout the K-State community — from construction dust to the launch of new programs and initiatives within every college and unit on our four campuses. At our winter retreats, our deans and cabinet members shared some of their thoughts on how K-State 2025 has made a difference at the university and in their colleges and units:

• Creating a culture of transparency, inclusive planning, and accountability with aspirational goals that help us move forward.

• A catalyst for change and dialogue.

• An opportunity for internal reflection and being honest with ourselves — helping us to think about what we do and don't do well.

• Increased rankings, new programs and degrees, new partnerships.

• Increased extramural funding and record-setting fundraising.

• Expanded student success and advising programs, more scholarship aid for undergraduate, graduate and distance students.

• The campus master plan, north campus master plan, new academic, housing and dining, student life and athletic facilities, the space migration process.

• Transforming institutional processes — new advising models, aligned strategic planning at all levels, changes in the Global Campus/College funding model, human capital services, facilities services.

• More focus on data collection, metrics and reporting.

• Increased visibility of K-State to stakeholders, an attractor for recruiting talented faculty and staff.

• Progress across all of our themes, including increased research expenditures, the highest freshman-to-sophomore retention rate in our history, and an improved graduation rate.

K-State 2025 has and is making a difference, helping us advance as a student-centered public research land-grant university. Do we have more work to do? Most definitely. We still have 10 years to go.

So what's next?

The end of this academic year marks the completion of the first five years of the university strategic plan. During the fall of 2016, we will maintain our focus on our 2025 plans. We will take some time to reflect on where we are — the strides we have made together and the work that remains. We will recognize, report and celebrate the successes of these first five years.

In 2017, working with a newly appointed president, we will review and "refresh" our university plan, using the opportunity to adjust our priorities to fit today's challenging environment while continuing on a path to excellence to 2025.

We are lucky to have General Myers as our interim president for many reasons, not the least of which is as one of the co-chairs of the Innovation and Inspiration Campaign, he is well aware of K-State 2025 and has been an enthusiastic supporter. As we look toward this transition period, we will work together to provide as much information and support to the K-State community as possible to ensure continued success along our pathway to become a Top 50 public research university. Please feel free to reach out to me with any of your questions, comments, or concerns. I also encourage you to stay up-to-date on the latest K-State 2025 news on our website.

K-State 2025 was forged through collaboration and co-creation. It is that continued spirit of collaboration at our university that will make all the difference as we work together with both our interim president and new president to achieve the future we want for K-State.

Thanks for all you do!

April Mason

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